Could a poo fairy be the answer to Hātea Loop's doggie-do problems?

(See the related story: Dog poo an unwelcome feature on Whangārei's Hātea Loop.)

Since 2017 ''poo fairies'' have been cleaning up canine deposits in popular dog-walking areas around the Bay of Islands as well as installing signs urging pet owners to do the right thing.

The initiative was sparked by a letter published in a local newspaper bemoaning the filthy state of Waitotara Reserve, one of the few places in Kerikeri dogs could be exercised off-lead.


Members of the Bay of Islands Watchdogs — a lobby group set up to fight a proposed tough new dog bylaw — volunteered to patrol Waitotara Stream and pick up any offending faeces.

Through the group's Facebook page members of the public then nominated other areas in need of the fairies' magic.

Volunteers include Opua woman Jillian Kearney, who regularly walks the Paihia-Opua coastal track, another former problem area, armed with a scoop and bag.

"Poo Fairy" Jillian Kearney with the tools of her trade. Photo / Ruth Lawton

On special occasions, such as the Bark in the Park event in Kawakawa earlier this year, she will don her full poo fairy regalia of sparkly tutu and wings.

Kearney said about three fairies were active at Waitotara Reserve and a similar number around Opua. The Watchdogs relied on the public to alert them via Facebook of other problem areas.

Kearney, who works as an Oxford Dictionary editor, said the poo fairies' original aim was to counter negative publicity about dogs during the bylaw campaign while cleaning up what no one wanted to see lying around.

Since she started she had been humbled to learn how many people routinely picked up rubbish, including poo, during their daily walks.